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simpleminds acoustic
Artist: Simple Minds
Album: Acoustic
Genre: New Wave / Rock / Post Punk
Release Date: 11th November 2016
Label: Caroline Records

Album Review

Starting in 1977 as Punk band JOHNNY AND THE SELF ABUSERS by Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, they disbanded already at the end of the year just to form SIMPLE MINDS a couple of weeks later. The band name was inspired by the song ‘Jean Genie’ from DAVID BOWIE. With a musical career of more than 30 years the Scottish band released 15 studio albums, several live albums and live videos, a cover album, best of albums, as well as numerous singles. Its music spans a great spectrum of musical genres and influences during the years, from Punk, to Minimalism, Experimental, Industrial Electronic, Trance and Rock music. With albums like ‘New gold dream (81- 82- 83 84)’, ‘Sparkle in the rain’ success set in but it was the song ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’ which was a film song for the teenage film ‘The Breakfast Club’ the band reached the N° 1 in the USA. SIMPLE MINDS is one of the most busily touring band. Its live performances are outstanding and the guys are still enjoying it to tour worldwide. Apart from touring busily the band has released 17 studio albums, now 13 compilation/ best of albums, 2 live albums and 36 singles/ EPs.

It is always interesting to find out how a band strips down its well-known songs down to acoustic versions. Of course it would be a bit boring if the songs were just presented one-on-one but only be unplugged. So a rearrangement is needed to give them a fresh new feeling. SIMPLE MINDS took up the challenge and created something very beautiful. Instead of trying to adopt the wall of sounds with the big drums, the bass guitar and synthesisers that is so typical for SIMPLE MINDS Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill decided otherwise. They invited as additional guitar player Gordy Goudie, who worked already in the past with the band, and who rearranged some songs with them for this album. Also percussionist Charisse Osei joined the band to create a softer percussion sound instead of the usual powerful Rock drum sound. The now more quite sound puts the focus on the vocals and here Jim proves once more that he still has great singing qualities who puts his soul into the interpretation of the songs. And the amazing Sarah Brown brings out the main points with singing the backing vocals sometimes soft sometimes strong. But apart from turning the songs just into acoustic versions, the band also changed the tempo of some songs or transported them into another genre.

Especially ‘Promised you a miracle‘ is a big surprise. Not only is it now sung as a duet with KT TUNSTALL but appears now in an up-tempo Country Rock garment. The songs now allow more space for listening to the finesses of the guitar playing as well. I imagine Charlie, as a passionate guitar player, to be quite happy to present his prowess this way, too. ‘New gold dreams‘ comes along more up-tempo with the driving percussions. The powerful drums of ‘Waterfront‘ is replaced by strong guitar sound. The intro of ‘Sanctify yourself‘ with the scream and then the vigorous guitars reminded me spontaneously of Glam Rock. Again a wonderful up-tempo interpretation with the backing vocal singing of Sarah Brown that gives you goose bumps. The first tunes indicate unmistakably that the next song is ‘Chelsea girl‘. Interesting is that here Jim changed the accentuation of the song lines. With Sarah singing the backing vocals differently than is done at the original ‘Alive and kicking‘ gets a softer atmosphere. Of course we don’t have to miss the sing along song ‘Don’t you (forget about me)‘. ‘Speed your love to me‘ comes along in a slow, intense and moody atmosphere. The album finishes with a beautiful interpretation of ‘Light travels‘. And after that you want to listen to the whole album again and again.

All in all a well-made compilation of great SIMPLE MINDS songs in a new garment that will not only please the fans of the band. SIMPLE MINDS definitely know its craft. The album is available as CD, vinyl, download version or you can download each song.


01. The American
02. Promised you a miracle (feat. KT TUNSTALL)
03. Glittering prize
04. See the lights
05. New gold dream
06. Someone somewhere in summertime
07. Waterfront
08. Sanctify yourself
09. Chelsea girl
10. Alive and kicking
11. Don’t you (forget about me)
12. Long black train
13. Stand by me
14. Speed your love to me
15. Light travels


Jim Kerr - vocals
Charlie Burchill - guitar
Mel Gaynor - drums
Andy Gillespie - keyboard
Ged Grimes - bass
Sarah Brown - vocals / backing vocals

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Cover Picture

simpleminds acoustic


Music: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10 / 10

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